Breckenridge Family Portrait Sessions Are in Full Force This Summer

Breckenridge Family Portrait Sessions Are in Full Force This Summer

I am so excited to share my first family portrait session in Breckenridge since March! It was a long awaited three months to be able to book sessions again. Breckenridge was just not the same without its hustle and bustle of tourists shopping on Main Street, long waits at restaurants and lift lines. I’m so grateful for people returning to our little mountain town!

Family Portrait Session Turned to Proposal Session

The Leeds family planned their first trip after quarantine to the mountains. They rented a home over in Buena Vista and planned to come over to Breckenridge to have their family session with me. The mom, Shannon, and Hayden her daughter’s boyfriend had a little idea. They decided to turn this family session into a surprise proposal to Hannah. It was so much fun pulling this off and making this super special for all of them to be there for the moment Hayden proposed.

Boreas Pass Road Location for Family Photo Shoot

This Breckenridge family portrait session took place at one of my favorite locations, Boreas Pass Road. Normally, the road would have been open to cars by this point in the summer. It was delayed, and though it is now open, the gate was still up during our session. It was still a nice private spot for our family session and the Leeds girls looked gorgeous in their summer dresses. Hannah and Abby were both wearing dresses from Lulus and now I want to revamp my whole summer wardrobe.

 

Summer family portrait session in Breckenridge
Boreas Pass Road Summer family portrait session

couples portraits during professional portrait session with Andrea Stark Photography

Boreas Pass Road rock tunnel family portrait in Breckenridge

Family portrait photographer in Breckenridge Colorado

Leeds Sisters in Breckenridge Colorado during their family portrait session

Leeds Sisters in Breckenridge Colorado during their family portrait session

Dad with daughters family portrait photography in Breckenridge Colorado

Dad with daughters family portrait photography in Breckenridge Colorado

mother daughter pictures during professional family portrait photography session in Breckenridge Colorado

Couples portraits Breckenridge Colorado

Couples portraits Breckenridge Colorado

Couples portraits Breckenridge Colorado

Family of five portrait with mountain views in Breckenridge

Want to see Hayden’s surprise proposal to Hannah? Of course you do! Take a look and see the sweet shock on her face when he got down on one knee.

I love these moments so much and am so grateful to get to capture milestone’s for people like this in the mountains!

5 Family Friendly Summer Activities in Breckenridge

5 Family Friendly Summer Activities in Breckenridge

There are so many fun family friendly summer activities in Breckenridge. When you’re bound for the Colorado mountains, it can feel overwhelming to try and fit in all the fun. I remember coming out to Breckenridge every summer to visit Tyson, and could never check it all off the list. If you’re coming to Breckenridge for a weekend or a week, I’ve got a local’s perspective and a few of my personal favorites to share with you!

See the Town Troll

(perfect for elementary aged kids)

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Did you know that there’s a troll that lives in the forest here? Take the kids and visit Isaac Hearthstone on the Illinois Gulch Trail. It’s a short walk (like 400 feet short) and a perfect little trip to take young kids. The trailhead shares a parking lot with the Train park which is a favorite destination for my two-year-old who can’t get enough trains right now. So take the short walk in the woods to say hi to the large and lovable troll and then spend an hour in the shade at the Train Park. There are also hiking and biking paths to explore if you have more time and energy as a family.

Sit on the Beach at Frisco Bay

Frisco bay marina

Frisco Bay Marina is a perfect destination for families who love both the water and the mountains. The large sandy beach has plenty of room for spreading out a blanket, building a sand castle and dipping your toes in the chilly lake. You can also rent paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes. I totally recommend bringing your own snacks and cooler or heading over to the Island Grill to get a beachy cocktail. My favorite is the Rum Runner! Their oriental salad is delicious too!

Rent Bikes and Ride Along the Rec Path

Breckenridge_Bike_Rentals

Another of my family friendly activities in Breckenridge is biking! We have the best rec path for biking. The rec path runs right through downtown Breckenridge and along the Blue River. Rent an ebike or Specialized bike to take the family on a cruise from Breckenridge to Frisco. You can even schedule a pick up from Alpine Sports at the Frisco Marina. Before your pickup, take a ride around Lake Dillon or explore Frisco Main Street. They have many great shops and restaurants as well.

Eat Outside on Breckenridge’s New Pedestrian Only Main Street

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This won’t last forever, but until mid August 2020, you can sit outside at your favorite restaurant, take drinks to go, and have plenty of room to walk around Main Street and shop. My favorite rooftop patio is at Ridge Street Kitchen. Order some lunch and a cocktail over at Ridge Street Seafood and take your feast on the rooftop patio and enjoy one of the best views in Breckenridge. River Center Plaza is right off Main Street and has several live musicians playing throughout the summer during the lunch and dinner hours.

See an Elk or Moose

While we don’t have a wildlife refuge, it doesn’t mean there’s not a good chance that you can pull over and safely watch a grazing elk here. Dusk is the perfect time to see a herd of elk or the occasional moose. My recommendation is to take a drive late afternoon over the pass to Buena Vista and plan your return right around dusk (8:00ish in the summer). I’ve never not seen an antelope, herd of elk, and even a moose that time of night on my drive back to Breckenridge. There is also a beaver dam you can pull over and see in Blue River. Since you’re going to be over in Buena Vista, you have to grab an old fashioned burger at K’s Dairy Delite, Ice Cream at Louie’s, or grab a beer over at Eddy Line Brewery and walk along the river walk. 

Make sure to capture this special vacation with a family portrait session. It’s a great way to remember your time in the mountains. Inevitably, when I photograph a family, I find out what they like to do and end up sharing many more personalized suggestions. I love being a local here with insider knowledge to share to help make family vacations even more memorable and fun.

Five Easy Steps To Frame and Hang Family Photos

Five Easy Steps To Frame and Hang Family Photos

This is the best time to frame and hang family photos in your home! Find yourself staring at blank walls lately? Yeah, me too. This whole social distancing thing has got us isolating at home and me with a whole lot more time on my hands. I thought that this is the best time to finally order the prints I’ve been meaning to hang up on my wall and share the journey with you.

Once I placed my order, my prints took two days to get to my mailbox. That’s it. So in two days, you can be hanging up your own family portraits in your home. Don’t be afraid to reuse old frames or check out my affordable recommendations from Amazon, Target, and IKEA and order your own to be delivered straight to your door. 

But let’s take it one step at time. Here are five easy steps I have found to have the best success in hanging family photos around your home.

1. Pick a Spot In Your Home to Hang Family Photos

Think about where you might want to hang family photos. For example, if you want a display above your dining room table, consider one large piece. My lovely family clients from Missouri printed their 24×30 canvas to hang behind their kitchen table.

Think about putting your favorite family photos in the place you’ll see when you first come in your home. So that the second you get home, you’re greeted with your favorite moments of your life. 

Trying to fill an empty hallway or entryway? Consider doing three large prints side by side that compliment each other. That’s one project that I’m working on right now. I love keeping things symmetrical, so I’m printing 11×14 prints to go in these three frames from IKEA. For our hallway wall, all of the ones I printed are from Fall, so that the colors compliment each other well.

Hanging craft paper before you hang your frames

Want to know a Stark family rule? No family pictures in the bathroom! It’s my only DO NOT DO when it comes to family pictures. Please don’t hang family pictures in your bathroom. Just don’t. No one wants eyes watching them when they’re doing their business! Maybe I’ve watched too much Harry Potter and think that the portraits are alive and can see and talk to you. That’s just my preference, so do what you want, but that’s a rule in the Stark house. 

2. Choose Your Arrangement to Hang Family Photos

How many photos are you framing? Do you need a collage frame or one large frame. How about no frame at all? My most popular product in the print store is 24×36 gallery wraps. Eliminates the need for frames all together! 

To figure out which pictures I want to hang together and in what order here’s what I did:

Use a program like Google Slides or Docs. Insert your images to one slide and make sure they look good together. Don’t be afraid to move them around and take out a picture you originally thought you would use for one that better fits. Use pictures from the same session, season, or at least have the same color tone. I also recommend changing up the dynamics of the images. One close up in the middle, with a far away shot to the left and a medium shot to the right looks really nice together.

How to hang three pictures together

These are not all from the same shoot. Put they were all taken during the Fall season. It helps the color tones stay more consistent which is important when pairing multiple photos together.

Black and White Prints

Thinking about printing in Black and White? I love black and white. Especially if you don’t want a lot of color in your bedroom or in a certain place in your home. I love prints with a lot of white in them so that there is a good amount of negative space in the image. If I didn’t edit your image in black and white, just send me a quick email and I’ll add a nicely edited black and white image of your favorites to your personalized online gallery. You can always request a color and black and white version of each picture before I deliver your online gallery, too.

3. Pick Your Style and Size of Your Frames

Once you have an arrangement in mind, you can choose your size and frame styles to hang family photos. Once you have a photo you want to frame, think about getting the frame before you buy. Your high resolution family photos look awesome when styled in a diptych, which is two pictures side by side. I like to style one close up and one further away.  

Pick a frame style that works with your home decor. If you have a traditional style, opt for a classic frame like these white frames at Target. For the minimalist, opt for the beautiful natural grains of wood like these from Ikea. When in doubt, a clean white frame or sleek black gallery frame work in most interiors.

Shouldn’t your home be a reflection of the people living in it? I’ve learned a few little things from the one and only Joanna Gaines in her 2018 Winter edition of Magnolia Journal. Her story about “Reframing Gallery Walls” taught me a few things about hanging up frames for gallery walls. 

Designing a Gallery Wall

You can read the full article here, since I’m not an interior designer. Though because I am a former English teacher, I’ve written a quick summary of the few inspiring ideas I learned from the expert:

  1. Mix it up to help tell your family story on your walls. A gallery wall is one of the most literal ways your home can tell your story. Mix in family portraits, candids from family trips or even moments in your home, and anything else that brings you joy. 
  2. Once you’ve decided on the art content, choose your frame sizes and color. Consider canvas prints for a more laid-back look, grid of identical frames in a symmetrical arrangement (this is my personal favorite), or a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. The third option would have been my favorite about 10 years ago. 
  3. Your gallery wall can and should evolve over time, just as you do. Don’t get hung up on choosing your family portraits from your family session. You can change your prints in your frames out as often as you’d like!

Add dimension to your gallery by placing frames on a shelf or ledge. Think about using a picture ledge to rest your frames on. It also keeps you from hanging each frame on the wall and you can switch out the photos more often, layer the frames, and decorate the ledge with the change of season. My BFF Joanna says it helps to keep the overall look from feeling flat and brings the wall to life.

5 Easy Steps to Choose Photos For Your Walls

I’m a visual perfectionist who takes photography and family photos very seriously, so again, here’s a few quick tips to choose and hang family photos in your home your home. 

  1. Choose frames first or print canvases so that you don’t even need frames
  2. Pick where you’re going to hang the photo and if it’s going to be horizontal or vertical
  3. Choose your favorites in your gallery and order your prints straight from your gallery
  4. Print pictures from the same shoot, time of day, and season to hang together

Here are some of my favorite ways my clients have styled family photos:

4. How To Actually Hang the Frames On the Wall

Now to the fun part! I use craft paper and painters tape to plot out my plan for hanging the pictures. Nothing is worse than being the one who’s trying to hold up the frame to the wall and stretching back to see if it’s going to look good. This way, you can step back and see where the frames are going to look best without putting a single nail in the wall. 

It’s easy to create these paper templates. I just got a roll of craft brown paper from Walmart and measured each frame by tracing them and cutting it out. When you’re ready to hang, mark where the nail goes on the paper, and hammer the nail through brown paper. 

How To Hang Family Photos On a Wall

Andrea Stark Frame and Hang Family Photos

Use craft paper on the wall first before hanging your prints

Sorry, my kid lives in just a pull up these days.

How to hang family photos

5. Where To Get the Prints Made and Purchase Frames For Your Family Photos

Get the look:

IKEA

Light wood single picture frames

White Three picture collage

Target

Black Frames

Amazon

Natural wood magnetic frame

I print through the same print lab that my clients use in their personalized online gallery. My clients photos come from Millers Lab, and they are my favorite for all high quality printing in pretty much every size you could want. Choose your favorite family photos from our session, order them to fit the frame you like and that fit your space, and you’ll love having them around just like I do every time I come home.

Having these family photos all around the house is something that makes me so happy, and I love that we were able to frame them all in such a simple, classic, and timeless way. Hopefully, my tips will help you with your own family photos.

To get you started, use the code STARK10 to receive 10% off your next print order in your online gallery. If you’re not a client yet, and you want to schedule a family session, I’m starting to book Summer sessions starting June 1st. Now’s the time to get on my calendar because summer sessions fill up fast. 

Thank you to all my clients who sent me a peek into their homes of what their prints from our session look like! I love them and am so honored to be able to create memories for your family!

What to Know About Having a Snowy Photography Session

What to Know About Having a Snowy Photography Session

A lot of my couples are Southern like me. Some of them have never seen snow before. I love the opportunity to document the first trip to see snow in our beautiful winter town of Breckenridge. When planning for a winter session in Breckenridge it’s good to know a few things before. Hint, there will be snow! I wanted to cover what to expect, how to stay warm, and what looks best for a snowy winter session.

First thing I want my clients to know is dress warmly! Absolutely wear that cute winter outfit, but also wear thermals underneath and a big coat. Most of my clients will shed their coats and gloves for photos, and immediately put it back on in between photos. Staying warm ensures that we get to shoot longer and you get more pictures!

Also, the location I’ll suggest will be accessible and walkable, but I’d still wear tall boots or snow boots with wool socks as you’ll be walking in the snow. I’ve been known to come to a location after a fresh snow fall and pack down the snow while wearing my snowshoes. I want to make sure you can walk to our locations without getting buried knee deep in snow.

Styling Suggestions For Winter Photo Sessions

Some of my clients like to know my styling suggestions, too. As far as styling your session, a statement coat with a beanie, scarf and gloves or a warm, oversized, snuggly sweater with tall boots and a hat is super cute. The great thing about snow is it creates a beautiful white backdrop, so even though it might seem counterintuitive, soft pastel, muted colors like soft pinks and powder blues still look great! And, remember, regardless of the setting, you can never go wrong with neutrals!

Seeing Snow For the First Time

When India emailed me, she made sure to tell me this was her first time to see snow. She just wanted to document her and her husband, Matt’s trip with a playful couples session. We had the best time with all the new fresh flakes and I just love how their images turned out!

India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-1India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-2India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-3India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-4India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-5India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-6India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-7India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-8India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-9India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-10India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-11India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-12India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-13India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-14India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-15India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-16India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-17India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-18India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-19India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-20

Here’s to my couples who end their session with snow angels and a snow ball fight! If that sounds like fun to you, let’s chat!

Elisabeth & Zoe Fall Family Session in Breckenridge, Colorado

Elisabeth & Zoe Fall Family Session in Breckenridge, Colorado

Elisabeth Lawrence and Zoe with their dog Jasper met me in Breckenridge for a family mini session at the peak of the aspen glow.

Zoe has the best sassy personality and it didn’t take her long into the session to take charge. She came up with great ideas and some of the best poses were all her own!

Elisabeth and I both share something close to our hearts…Arkansas! She and I are both from Arkansas and eventually found our way out to Breckenridge. I had so much fun with Zoe and Elisabeth and I really love how this little session turned out!

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

 

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

 

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

Elisabeth and Zoe Family Session

 

 

My mini sessions are only 30 minutes long, but since we only meet in one location, it means that we make the very most of it. Believe it or not, this session was all shot in the same place!

If you are interested in scheduling a mini session, please shoot me an email at andreaparnellphotography@gmail.com!

Opsahl Fall Family Portraits in Breckenridge, Colorado

Opsahl Fall Family Portraits in Breckenridge, Colorado

This is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of photographing this family in Breckenridge. Erin Opsahl is a fantastic mother who also is the creator and administrator of the most helpful resource for women in Summit County, Colorado, Summit County Moms Facebook Group. Her last family session with me was featured twice this year, once in the local newspaper, Summit Daily, and also in print publication The Parent’s Handbook. Erin was spotlighted in these publications because of her finesse to create a group that connected many people in a town that feels rather isolated.

Now she’s supported by 1,580 female members (as of Oct. 2014) and has managed to create the go to source for mom’s wanting to be in the know on events and local info! I love her ambition to create and to continue to maintain this resource that promotes such an involved and healthy community.

I also love watching her kids grow up and I look forward to photographing this family for years to come!

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